Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Agi Rubin - December 19, 1984


Can you tell me your name please, and where you are from.

I am Agi Rubin, I reside in Southfield. I was born in a little city called Munkacs. In Czech it is called Monckacova. Being that they didn't know who it belonged to whether it was Hungary or Czechoslovakia, I answer to both. I'm sometimes from Hungary and sometimes from Czechoslovakia. Munkacs was a basically very, very fun loving city. Sixty percent Jewish people uh..[pause] lived. And we had our culture as far as from surrounding neighborhoods people would come to schools because it had the only Hebrew gymnasium in Munkacs. We had, eh, we were famous for our Rabbi, the Munkacs Rebbe, whose name was Shapiro. And, um, the city was split in Zionism and Hasidism. But the Hebrew school went on just the same. It was flourishing up until 1938, when the Hungarians re-occupied the territory and first thing they forbid, they closed up the Hebrew schools, so we had no where to go, we were roaming the streets `cause there was, one day we had school the next day it was on-and-off basis. And, uh after they reorganized the school, for eh, they would not allow the girls to Hebrew Gymnasium so it was a pre-school basis and a year later we went on to the gymnasium, but aside from that, it didn't last too long. In 1939, the City itself was as I said, fun loving. They lived and loved, they fought [pause] together and they lived together. As far as being Jewish, we knew that was our natural way of life, being Jewish, and keeping the Shabbat, observing the holidays. It wasn't a question about it that whether, what kind of Jew are you,... are you going to uphold the Jewish tradition or not? But the non-Jewish people accepted it and we lived side-by-side. Until the changeover came, the Hungarians collaborated with the Germans and they had a very easy way to walk into our city, in uh, from 1939 on, everything changed. It went on until 1944 until the Germans occupied our City with the help of the local Hungarian people. I remember they put a couple of soldiers to our house, and we were able to maintain one room in our home. My mother, my brother and myself. By that time my father was taken into forced labor camp, which was known as the Jewish army without guns. They would clean up the trenches for the army.

So, he was sent to the Soviet Union?

Well, at that point, we didn't know where he was. He did survive in the Soviet Union and he was liberated much earlier than most of us. But he was taken away in 1942 already, to this working camp.

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